The Effects of Integrated Marsh Management (IMM) on Salt Marsh Vegetation, Nekton, and Birds
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An integrated marsh management (IMM) project in an urbanized watershed on Long Island, New York, USA, aimed to mitigate salt marsh degradation and to reduce mosquito production by an innovative combination of restoration and open marsh water management methods. The grid ditch network at two treatment marshes was replaced with naturalized tidal channels and ponds. Effects of the hydrologic alterations were monitored utilizing a before–after–control–impact approach. The treatment marshes experienced a number of beneficial outcomes including a fourfold reduction in the invasive Phragmites australis and increased native vegetation cover in the most degraded portions of the marsh, increased abundance and diversity of marsh killifish and estuarine nekton species, higher shorebird and waterfowl densities, and increased avian species diversity. The successful implementation of IMM concept led to improved marsh health and diminished mosquito production. Therefore, this study may serve as a template for similar large-scale integrated salt marsh restoration projects.
KeywordsSalt marsh restoration Salt marsh nekton Phragmites australis Spartina OMWM Integrated marsh management Salt marsh mosquitoes
The integrated marsh management at WNWR was a collaborative effort between Suffolk County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We are indebted to Deborah Long, Patricia Martinkovic, and Michelle Williams (USFWS) for past and continuing support. We thank Alex Chmielewski, Andy Hinickle, Azucena Ponce, and Monica Williams (USFWS) for invaluable advice and assistance. Suffolk County Vector Control personnel provided vital support for the project: Margaret Kawalkowski (data entry and QA), Jerry Franklin (maintenance and bird data collection), Valentin Bulgak (GIS support), and field crews (sampling). We thank Walt Dawydiak and Kimberly Shaw (Suffolk County DHS) for excellent project coordination and management, and Phil DeBlasi (Suffolk County DHS) for help with field work. Josh Ver Hague and Craig Kessler (Ducks Unlimited) provided valuable help with design and field sampling. Kim Somers, Keith Brewer, and Elyse O’Brien (Cashin Associates) collected the field data and David Tonjes produced the draft project reports in 2003–2007. We are grateful to Paul Capotosto (CT DEP) for advice on the project design.
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